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Gamers Chewed Up More Data Than Netflix Bingers During COVID, Telcos Taking Advantage

Australia’s two biggest telco companies have revealed gamers were the most data-hungry internet users during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, eclipsing Netflix bingers.

As the country went into lockdown in March, the sheer level of bandwidth needed to keep up with gamers using Fortnite and League of Legends was so immense it triggered a letter from Communications Minister Paul Fletcher asking the gaming platforms to help NBN to manage the data demand.

“When you look at a network level, gaming dwarfs everything. There was more time spent gaming than on Netflix in the last six months,” Optus VP of product, development, TV and content Clive Dickens told The Sydney Morning Herald.

“The growth is off the charts. The other thing that has changed is the collaborative nature of gaming has continued to explode. You’re talking to people all over the world, you’re playing with people all over the world.”

Telcos such as Optus and Telstra are now looking to invest big money into gaming as the sector only continues to boom.

Australia’s gaming industry was the fastest growing sector during 2020 – worth a whopping $4 billion this year compared to $3.2 billion in 2019.

A YouGov gaming and esports white paper reported more than 70% of Aussies now play some sort of video or mobile game.

As a response to the gaming boom, Optus revealed in October it will soon launch a $10 add-on product for NBN customers named Game Path, which will reduce lags in streaming games and aims to provide a better connection for those needed faster internet during full-throttle gaming.

And just last week Telstra announced its own $10 add-on to NBN customers called Game Optimiser, which helps to reduce lag spikes and joins multiplayer servers.

A report into Australia’s media and entertainment outlook predicts the gaming sector could be worth $4.4 billion by 2024.

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